HONOLULU, Hawaii – Wednesday was the opening day of the 2014 session of the State Legislature. It was another subdued beginning – no singing or dancing – but plenty of speeches. The events coincided with the 55th anniversary of statehood, and so both the House and the Senate chose to mark the milestone by honoring former public servants with a special recognition.
Before festivities began in the State House of Representatives, a new member of the House representing West Hawaii was sworn in. Dr. Richard Creagan was appointed by the governor to fill the district 5 seat formerly held by Denny Coffman, who retired last month for personal reasons.
The official opening day remarks offered a glimpse of the debates that will define the upcoming session. Speaker of the House Joseph Souki called on members of the state House of Representatives to be bold in crafting legislation. Souki also offered hope for the counties in regards to the transient accommodations tax.
And the TAT isnt the only tax that Souki has his sights set on.
Souki also said he will be looking to address a disparity in the state’s medical marijuana law.
In the Senate, president Donna Mercado Kim said that after the 2013 session, she was pleased with the work done by fellow senators in the interim.
The other side of the senate aisle had their say, too. Or his say.
As always, Sam Slom, the Senate Minority leader and the only Republican in the 25-member Hawaii State Senate, pulled no punches in his speech.